Adding 267 childcare options, permanently protecting 184 acres of County land, and improving public safety with a centralized 911 Call Center are just some of the ways Buncombe County made significant progress on its Strategic Plan 2025 goals. As we reach the end of 2021, it’s a great time to reflect on the progress made toward our strategic priorities. Even as we continue to respond to the ever-evolving needs from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, our employees are committed to moving the needle on the Commissioner-led strategic plan focus areas that strengthen our community. Thanks to the Board of Commissioners for funding and providing ongoing support for all these initiatives.
Below you will find a list of just some of the ways Buncombe County made significant headway in each of our strategic priority categories. You can also monitor progress on our Strategic Plan 2025 goals by viewing our dashboards that provide up-to-date information. Just click here, and then select one of the four focus areas.
Educated and Capable Community
Environmental and Energy Stewardship
- Committing to 100% feasibility assessments and installation of solar power on all appropriate City of Asheville, Buncombe County Schools, and A-B Tech facilities by 2025.
- Replacing our fleet with alternatively fueled vehicles. 23 hybrid replacement SUVs were purchased.
- Increasing renewable energy by completing solar projects on several public facilities, including public libraries in Leicester, Fairview, South Buncombe, and North Asheville, as well as the County animal shelter.
- Supporting Solarize Asheville Buncombe, which led to installation of solar on more than 150 residential homes, as well as no-cost solar installations for at least 12 low- to medium-income homes.
- Permanently protecting 184 acres of County land with conservation easements.
- Helping increase tourism and awareness of local farms by launching the Visit NC Farms app.
- Helping landowners protect water quality, improve soil health, and conserve land through $87,800 in cost-share contracts, $123,500 in grants for conservation easements, and the installation of nearly $40,500 of best-management practices from cost-share programs.
- Increasing the County’s renewable energy portfolio by facilitating the construction of a five-megawatt solar farm on the closed landfill.
- Renegotiating a three-year contract for sale of landfill gas renewable energy to Duke.
- Reducing our landfill footprint by launching the first-ever compost pilot program.
- Encouraging environmental stewardship by presenting the Clean Air Excellence Award to Eaton Corporation’s Arden Plant for reducing GHG emissions by 65,000 pounds per year.
- Continuing to provide invaluable services at the Family Justice Center by securing $875,000 in state funding. (Justice Services)
- Providing up-to-date information on community focus areas with strategic plan dashboards.
- Helping offset property and housing costs for low-income residents with the creation of Homeowner Grant Program that will provide nearly $615,000 for about 1,300 qualified homeowners.
- Maintaining goal of 97% of plans reviewed in one day or less, while the number of inspections increased from 188 inspections per day to 210 per day.
- Mitigating future flood damage by having Permits & Inspections collaborate with Planning to perform storm damage assessments after Tropical Storm Fred.
- Facilitating 5,756 informal real property tax appeals with help from the County’s new online property tax appeal process.
- Creating plans for increased equity via creation of performance measures for the County’s Racial Equity Action Plan.
- Bolstering public safety through IT’s spearheading of public safety projects such as: Onboarding Weaverville PD, transitioning to Next Gen 911, and other technology upgrades helping ensure high-quality service delivery.
- Raising awareness about affordable housing through an Affordable Housing Fair featuring eight local nonprofits focused on low-cost shelter.
- Providing social services and helping 119 library patrons complete housing applications via Pack Library’s continued partnership with Homeward Bound through a grant-funded social work position.
- Working toward eliminating racial disparities in service provision and community level outcomes as dictated by the County’s first Racial Equity Action Plan.
- Protecting County residents and visitors against discrimination through a Commissioner-led anti-discrimination ordinance.
- Working toward making systemic changes to improve outcomes for people of color after Commissioners approve ordinance declaring racism a public health and safety crisis.
- Reducing barriers to libraries and increasing circulation by eliminating late-fee fines for overdue materials.
- Decreasing the jail population through diversion initiatives, community engagement, and other tactics dictated by the Justice Resource Advisory Council’s (JRAC) 2020-2025 Strategic Plan.
- Providing more food security options for people in South Asheville and east Buncombe County by expanding our Community Engagement Markets.
- Expanding the Post Overdose Response Team (PORT) program that is quantifiably helping decrease opioid-related deaths.
- Creating a centralized 911 Call Center with Asheville, Black Mountain, Montreat, Weaverville, and Woodfin helping increase call response efficiency.
- Helping keep more than 4,500 people in their homes by distributing about $7.5 million for rent, mortgage, and utility assistance.
- Administering more than 100,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to help increase public health.
- Begin construction on the first ever Buncombe County-owned dog park to provide additional resources for dog owners to enjoy time with their pets at the Buncombe County Sports Park.